• SurveillanceFacial Recognition “Epidemic” in the U.K.

    An investigation by the London-based Big Brother Watch has uncovered what the organization describes as a facial recognition “epidemic” across privately owned sites in the United Kingdom. The civil liberties campaign group has found major property developers, shopping centers, museums, conference centers and casinos using the technology in the United Kingdom.

  • PerspectiveProposed Bills Would Help Combat Domestic Terrorism

    “Left of boom” is a phrase frequently used by FBI agents to describe the FBI’s post-9/11 strategy to detect, disrupt and dismantle terrorist threats before acts of violence occur. Imagine a timeline where “boom” represents the moment the bomb goes off or an attack occurs: “Left of boom” means sometime before that moment. In the international terrorism arena, the U.S. has federal statutes that permit intervention left of boom, such as terrorism transcending national boundaries, providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempt and conspiracy provisions for each. These statutes permit investigators to identify criminal behavior earlier in the timeline, and intercept subjects before their plans reach completion. No such laws exist for domestic terrorism.

  • GunsPeer Influence, Social Networks May Aid in Gun Violence Reduction Efforts

    A new study found that a program aimed at reducing gun violence in Chicago, the Violence Reduction Strategy (VRS), deterred about 100 victimizations over a two-year period. VRS is a program that seeks to lower rates of gun violence in typically high-crime areas. The program seeks to do so by inviting participants with heightened risk of victimization to participate in a meeting known as a “call-in.”

  • Perspective: Domestic terrorismHow to Fight the New Domestic Terrorism

    Pittsburgh, Tallahassee, Poway, Jeffersontown and now El Paso—these American communities have been the scene since 2018 of the most lethal mass shootings connected to white supremacist ideology, but there have been many other lesser attacks and foiled plots. In the U.S., such terrorism has now eclipsed international jihadist terrorism in both frequency and severity. Clint Watts writes in the Wall Street Journal that the formula for responding to America’s white supremacist terrorism emergency is quite clear—in part because of the U.S. hard-won experience fighting jihadists from al Qaeda and its spawn, Islamic State. “We must swiftly and carefully apply the best practices of the two decades since Sept. 11, 2001, to counter this decade’s domestic terrorist threat—by passing new laws, increasing resources and enhancing investigative capabilities,” he writes.

  • Mass shootingsWant to Stop Mass Shootings?

    “There are a whole range of things that could play a role in prevention [of gun violence], including better parenting, less racism, better education, more job opportunities,” says Harvard’s David Hemenway. “All of these things might have some effect on reducing shootings in the U.S. We should improve all those things. But the most cost-effective interventions involve doing something about guns. For example, as far as we can tell, virtually all developed countries have violent video games and people with mental health issues. There’s no evidence that I know of that shows that people in the U.S. have more mental health issues, especially violent mental health issues. Compared to other high-income countries we are just average in terms of non-gun crime and non-gun violence. The elephant in the room, the thing that makes us stand out among the 29 other high-income countries, is our guns and our weak gun laws. As a result, we have many more gun-related problems than any other high-income country.”

  • Mass shootingsMass Shootings Aren’t Growing More Common – and Evidence Contradicts Common Stereotypes about the Killers

    By Christopher J. Ferguson

    Responses to the El Paso and Dayton tragedies included many of the same myths and stereotypes Americans have grown used to hearing in the wake of a mass shooting. As part of my work as a psychology researcher, I study mass homicides, as well as society’s reaction to them. A lot of bad information can follow in the wake of such emotional events; clear, data-based discussions of mass homicides can get lost among political narratives. One example: Mass shooters in the United States are not all white supremacists. Overall, the ethnic composition of the group of all mass shooters in the U.S. is roughly equivalent to the American population, and most mass homicide perpetrators don’t proclaim any allegiance to a particular ideology at all.

  • PerspectiveThe Promise and Pitfalls of Universal Background Checks

    Now is as good a time as any to talk about measures that could affect the killings where that is not the case. And as far as gun-control proposals go, universal background checks are among the better ones: They are politically feasible, might actually reduce gun violence on the margins, and would not unduly burden law-abiding gun owners. There are countless reasons to be less trigger-happy about them than their most ardent supporters are, but if political pressure forces Republicans to give ground on something big, this might be the best way to go.

  • PerspectiveIs White Terrorism the New 9/11?

    Is there a danger of overreaction to the mass shootings in El Paso,, Dayton, and other places? Should America confront its fringes with the wrath it brought to the Middle East after September 11, 2001? Two decades of evidence argues against changing the whole way we do business in the face of a few fanatics. In any event, what would a “war on white nationalism” actually entail? Will it be a decades-long slog, this time on American soil? Will it feature the mistakes of the war or terror? Curtis Mills writes: “Before it embarks upon a new, ill-considered crusade, America should contemplate the costs and consequences of its last war on terror.”

  • PerspectiveDon’t Ban Assault Weapons—Tax Them

    The United States is debating what to do about assault-style weapons, what gun-rights advocates like to call modern sporting rifles. Gun-rights champions argue that these weapons are in common use, and hence protected by the Second Amendment. Gun-control supporters respond that these weapons have no place on our streets and ought to be banned. But there’s a better solution, and one that avoids the constitutional objections typically raised by gun-rights advocates. Rather than banning these weapons, the time has come to tax them.

  • Perspective: White powerA Reformed White Nationalist Says the Worst Is Yet to Come

    It’s going to get worse. That’s the warning of a former violent extremist, Christian Picciolini, who joined a neo-Nazi movement 30 years ago and now tries to get people out of them. White-supremacist terrorists—the ones who have left dozens dead in attacks in Pittsburgh, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas, in recent months—aren’t just trying to outdo one another, he told us. They’re trying to outdo Timothy McVeigh. Picciolini said that even if the U.S. could get a handle on its gun problem, terrorists can always find other ways. McVeigh had his car bomb, the September 11th hijackers had their airplanes, Islamic State attackers have suicide bombings, trucks, and knives. “I have to ask myself, Do we have white-nationalist airline pilots?

  • Perspective: Home-grown terrorismDeadly Violence Heightens Concerns about Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacists

    Federal and local authorities recently have said there are heightened concerns about domestic terrorism and white supremacy. In July, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that a majority of domestic terrorism cases the bureau has investigated are motivated by white supremacy. Wray assured the panel that the FBI was “aggressively” pursuing domestic terrorism and hate crimes. “Our focus is on the violence,” he said. “We, the FBI, don’t investigate the ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence.”

  • Perspective: Mass shootingsWhat Explains U.S. Mass Shootings? International Comparisons Suggest an Answer

    There is one quirk that consistently puzzles America’s fans and critics alike. Why, they ask, does it experience so many mass shootings? Perhaps, some speculate, it is because American society is unusually violent. Or its racial divisions have frayed the bonds of society. Or its citizens lack proper mental care under a health care system that draws frequent derision abroad. These explanations share one thing in common: Though seemingly sensible, all have been debunked by research on shootings elsewhere in the world. Instead, an ever-growing body of research consistently reaches the same conclusion. The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.

  • Law enforcementPolice Use of Lethal Force a Leading Cause of Death in Young Men

    Police violence is a leading cause of death of young men in the United States, with black men 2.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement over their lifetime than white men, according to a new study. The study examined fatality risks during police encounters – some 11,456 between 2013-2017 – and found that African-American men and women, American Indian/Alaska Native men and women and Latino men face a higher lifetime risk of being killed by police than do their white peers.

  • Mass shootingsMass Shootings as a Contagion

    Research shows that mass-shooting incidents usually occur in clusters and tend to be contagious. Moreover, contagion correlates with the level of intensity of media coverage: the more intense the coverage, the more likely it is that contagion will occur, researchers say.

  • Mass shootingsFrom Across the Globe to El Paso, Changes in the Language of the Far-Right Explain Its Current Violence

    By Arie Perliger

    In the past decade, the language of white supremacists has transformed in important ways. It crossed national borders, broadened its focus and has been influenced by current mainstream political discourse. I study political violence and extremism. In my recent research, I have identified these changes and believe that they can provide important insights into the current landscape of the American and European violent far-right. The changes also allow us to understand how the violent far-right mobilizes support, shapes political perceptions and eventually advances their objectives.